Green and Rooibos Tea – Good for Allergies?

Every time I go to the mall, I have to go by the “tea store” for a little pick me up and rejuvenation. I’m not a big caffeine girl so I usually stick to the rooibos teas, plus my kids can enjoy these, too. I know that rooibos tea has health and allergy benefits, but I was reminded of it when I was there. The company also seems to be pretty on top of allergy awareness.

The first thing we saw in the store was a label on one of the teas they have for tasting. They of course, always mark the caffeine contents and type of tea they have for sampling, but on this particular tea, it was listed that it may contain (get this) strawberries. I know a lot of our readers will be glad to hear this. It was a fruity herbal tea that had dried strawberries in it, and they listed it as a warning ingredient. I wonder if strawberries are making it into the big 8 allergens. And, most of us wouldn’t really expect tea to contain strawberries.

As I looked at their website, www.teavana.com, I noticed that they do a good job of listing ingredient and adding the warning of “contains…” For example, the description of the Rooibos Sweet Amore Rooibos Tea is “Vanilla, cinnamon, almonds, apples, peach, pear, and red Rooibos tea. A tea you could easily fall in love with. This tea contains nuts.” Ingredients are also fully listed on the description as well. Believe it or not, quite a few of the rooibos teas do contain some sort of nut, including almonds and pistachios. Another tea (the Cloud 9) lists ingredients and states that it contains milk and gluten. So it is important to check ingredients even on tea.

What struck me the most, however, is the relation of rooibos tea and allergy relief. On the site, it states this relationship in numerous spots, including under the tea’s benefits (Key Lime Rooibos says “High antioxidant content and rich in vitamins and minerals. Caffeine free, may aid in relieving allergies, and great for hair, teeth, skin, and bones.”)

While we were in the store, the woman helping us was chatting about tea and went on to tell us (unprovoked) that she drinks at least 3 cups of rooibos tea every day because she suffers from allergies. She said she has had significant improvement with her tea.

So not only is rooibos tea delicious, I love it hot or cold, sweetened or not, it has some great allergy health benefits. I appreciate the labeling that Teavana does, but any rooibos teas will have these benefits. So next time you are at the mall, stop at the tea store, and refresh yourself and soothe your allergies at the same time.

Tea: a natural alternative to allergy relief

In the past years, we have seen a surge in tea drinking, especially the green teas, herbals, and rooibos teas. Not only are these varieties very low in caffeine or completely caffeine free, but the studies are also showing that they can be very beneficial in allergy relief.

Evidence suggests that drinking green tea may help with allergies.

Rooibos tea (also known as red tea or honeybush tea) is becoming very highly rated as an anti-oxidant and allergy fighter. It is grown in South Africa and can be used as a tea by itself or combined with other teas and herbs to enhance or vary the flavor.

In the plant kingdom, 2 particular bioflavonoids among thousands are commonly found, these being quercetin and rutin. The concentration of quercetin and rutin are very high in tea, especially rooibos tea. With the help of these bioflavonoids, plants are able to ward of environmental stress, and studies are showing that they can do the same for humans.

According to this article, quercetin has a strong stabilization effect in cell membranes, which prevents them from spilling the absorbed allergy symptom causing histamine to flow in to the bloodstream, basically acting the same as an OTC antihistamine like Benadryl. Instead of letting the allergen into the body to cause allergic reactions, these bioflavonoids block them. However, unlike, OTC antihistamines, there are no side effects with tea.

Many of the major tea companies are touting the health benefits of their products, including the anti oxidants and anti aging benefits. We don’t hear too much of the allergy relief they can provide, but it’s there. With any product, the most benefit will be derived from the purest product, so while a jar of processed, sugary green tea may taste yummy, you may not get much allergy relief from it. Studies are not clear how much tea is necessary for relief, but it’s better to try to stay with the real than the highly processed, instant form.

A number of grocery chains and markets are now selling a variety of teas including greens and reds/rooibos. You can also find excellent higher end teas at specialty stores like www.teavana.com, www.adagio.com, www.mountainroseherbs.com, and www.thefragrantleaf.com. There are many types to experiment with depending on your tastes and desired caffeine levels. So next time you know allergy season is sneaking up on you, stock up on some tea!

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